Police intend to arrest prominent settler leader Rabbi Dov Lior if he continues
to ignore their requests to present himself for questioning about his
endorsement of a book called Torat Hamelech.
Police are conducting a
wide-ranging investigation into the book, written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira,
which states that non-Jewish civilians can be killed in certain situations
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Already last summer, police summoned Lior and Rabbi
Ya’acov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, to be questioned
about the book.
Yosef publicly refused the summons, saying that “the
attempt to prevent the rabbis of Israel from expressing their opinion, the
opinion of the Torah, through intimidation and threats is a most severe act and
will not succeed.”
Lior has refused to cooperate with police for the same
reason. According to sources close to Lior, the police chief from the Hebron
area arrived at the rabbi’s home in the Kiryat Arba settlement a few days ago to
inform him that an arrest warrant had been issued against him.
he would execute the warrant if Lior continued to refuse to participate
willingly in their investigation, according to the sources close to the
Lior told police he would not participate in such an act of
contempt against the Bible and that he would not be part of an investigation
whose aim was to silence rabbis.
A law enforcement source confirmed that
Lior would be arrested if he continued to refuse to participate in the
investigation, which is being led by the police’s Serious and International
Lior is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba and is one of the leading
rabbinical leaders of the religious Zionist movement. The threat to arrest him
has angered his followers, as well as many settler and rightwing
His supporters plan to hold a demonstration on Tuesday morning
in front of his Kiryat Arba home, to show that they stand behind his leadership
Sources close to Lior said the threat of arrest was an
effort to prevent the rabbi from presenting his opinion on the Bible. By
refusing to help the police, Lior was attempting to stop this persecution
against the Bible and to strengthen other rabbis, the sources said.
Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called the warrant “scandalous” and warned that
it “crossed a red line.”
“It appears that there are those who want to
bring violence and division to the nation of Israel,” he said.
wanted to know, were the leftists, who only a few days earlier had complained
about censorship? The Binyamin and Samaria Citizens’ Committees said that the
warrant was “a declaration of war by the prosecutors and the state against the
Jewish faithful who carry its flag. This warrant spits in the face of the Jewish
people. We call on all those who value the Jewish character of our nation to
rise up and oppose this, even with their bodies.”
But some organizations
said that Lior had erred in his support for the book.
The liberal modern
Orthodox group Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avodah (The Faithful of Torah and Labor) said
on Monday, “The unnecessary obstinacy at the onset of this affair not to
cooperate with the law enforcement authorities leads us to places nobody wants
Israel’s rabbis must respect the laws of the state like any other
citizen in Israel, and this commitment bears the halachic weight of dina
demalchuta dina [the law of the state is law]. Hence, not cooperating with the
legal authorities not only creates the impression that some citizens are above
it, but is also a halachic problem.
“At the same time, the law
enforcement authorities should examine themselves to see if they are not
applying double standards in the way they address statements of public Israeli
figures from the Right and Left.”
Peace Now executive director Yariv
Oppenheimer, meanwhile, said the warrant was “too little, too late.”
called on police to arrest scores of rabbis who have supported racist edicts,
including those who prohibited selling or renting apartments to Israeli Arabs.
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